Author Archive for Dipak Naik

Cost-effective solutions for recycling tires and waste rubber

SRI Elastomers is featured in the latest November – December, 2013 issue of Rubber Asia Magazine. In this article, SRI’s CEO, Gopinath Sekhar follows up on his presentation including data on SRI Compound use in retread tire compound blends at India Rubber Summit & Dinner 2013  in Cochin, India.

Click here to Click here to download a PDF of the article.

 

 

European Rubber Journal Report on Tire Recycling – SRI Featured

SRI has been featured in the September / October edition of The European Rubber Journal.

In this issue, David Shaw’s  report asks the important question, “Why is recycled rubber not used in tyres?”

The European Rubber Journal is the world’s leading publication specialising in the rubber industry in Europe.

Magazine copies and back issues are available for purchase here

(PDF download)

Cleantech Solution – Polymers & Tyre Asia interview with SRI CEO

Click to download PDF of article

SRI’s CEO, Gopinath B. Sekhar was recently interviewed by Tyre Asia Magazine. The February / March issue will be also distributed at the Tire Tech Expo 2011 in Cologne, Germany.

The devulcanizing technology that Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI) has developed, for which it won the 2010 Asia Pacific Technology Innovation Award for Tire Recycling Technology by international consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, is set to change the way end-of-life tyres are perceived and managed. SRI CEO Gopinath B Sekhar says the compound created by his firm’s cleantech process, which uses very little energy, can be utilised to make new tyres, retread old ones and make automotive parts. This will be particularly economically at a time when natural rubber prices have
gone through the roof.

With automobile industry booming in China and India, tyre production in the world’s most populous countries is growing very fast with China already topping the list as the world’s largest producer. Along with this, comes the problem of environment-friendly disposal of end-of-life tyres. In this context, SRI’s tyre recycling is a viable green option for emerging economies.

“India has a long history of recycling which predates the terms of ‘cleantech’ and ‘green’. China in particular has shown a capacity for rapid adoption of all things green, with 1/4 of their energy requirements now being supplied by clean energy,” Sekhar noted.
The need for the recycling of scrap tyres in a responsible and appropriate manner is no longer just a necessity but it is now an imperative, he emphasised.

The already substantial automotive markets of north America and Europe are now being joined and even surpassed by Asia where these industries are on explosive growth. “Existing systems to manage the volumes of scrap generated are going to be outstripped very quickly leaving a path of unacceptable environmental damage in its wake,” he warned. “When I refer to the imperative, I’m not referring to lip service or peripheral low volume applications, but the imperative is for a process that can keep up with the volume of scrap generated.”

Continue reading full article in pdf format.

“Turn old tires into new ones” – SRI featured in TheStar

SRI has been featured in The Star, Malaysia’s largest newspaper.

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In 2004, Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI) was founded by local rubber technology legend, the late Tan Sri Dr B.C. Sekhar. When he passed on in 2006, his son, Gopinath B. Sekhar took over the company, focusing on developing a process that enables the reuse of materials from scrap tyres.

The breakthrough for SRI came after five years of endeavour when they successfully created the “SRI compound”. Recycled from tyres and waste rubber, the compound can be used to make new tyres, retread old ones or make automotive parts.

The process of creating the compound begins with cutting and grinding up scrap tyres into crumb rubber. The crumb rubber is then put through the SRI Activation Process to create premium rubber which can be used in a range of products once it is mixed in with the manufacturer’s virgin compound.

Sekhar uses the analogy of cake baking to describe the process: “A scrap tyre is like a baked cake. Eggs, flour, sugar and other ingredients are used to make the cake batter. Once baked, it is impossible to turn the cake back into batter because the properties of the ingredients have changed.

“It is the same in rubber product manufacturing where natural rubber, synthetic rubber, carbon black, chemicals and sulphur are mixed together into a compound. The compound is put in a mould and the mould is heated up for a specified amount of time at a specified temperature to vulcanise it into a finished product. This finished product material cannot be reverted back to the compound it initially was.”

But what if there is a method to convert the cake into batter? This method is what the people at SRI have developed.

Continue reading at TheStar online

SRI featured on Discovery

Today, over half the recovered end of life tires in the World are incinerated in low end and unhealthy applications like TDF (tire derived fuel). The argument for burning tires has been that no alternative exists that can consume the huge volume of waste tires generated yearly. Technology has now caught up with the scrap tire problem, effectively ending the need to burn this valuable raw material as low grade fuel. Thank you to Discovery Channel for featuring SRI as a leading tire recycling company with the potential to address this solid waste issue with technology and innovation.

..processing an old tire back into a new one remains extremely difficult. The production process alters the materials’ properties, making them hard to reclaim. So far, tire recycling hasn’t been able to produce significant amounts of affordable, high-performance compounds. Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI) is a startup based in the Malaysian city Petaling Jaya. They say their patent-pending technological process can devulcanize rubber from whole scrap tires, creating a compound that can be used to make new tires, retread old ones, and make automotive parts.The technology can work at high volumes and requires very little energy, says SRI.. “Ours is the first closed-loop rubber recycling solution that can match the volume requirements of rubber manufacturing.”

This fall, consulting firm Frost and Sullivan gave the company a technology innovation of the year award for their tire recycling process. “Large-scale implementation of SRI’s recycling technology could ultimately lead to greener, ecofriendly cars on our roads,” the firm stated. Currently the company is in the process of commercializing its process and plans to open a production facility in Malaysia.

Continue reading at Discovery.com

SRI Receives Asia Pacific Technology Innovation Award

Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI) has been awarded the 2010 Asia Pacific Technology Innovation Award for Tire Recycling Technology by Frost & Sullivan. SRI received the Asia Pacific award in recognition of its performance against key competitors in terms of uniqueness of technology, impact on new products/applications, functionality, customer value and the relevance of SRI’s innovation to the tire recycling industry.

Frost & Sullivan’s Technology Innovation of the Year Award is bestowed upon a company that has carried out new research, which has resulted in the development of a specific innovative technology that has or is expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture. This award recognizes the quality and depth of a company’s research and development program as well as the vision and risk-taking that enabled it to undertake such an endeavor.

SRI is honored to receive this prestigious award. We thank Frost & Sullivan for recognizing the disruptive potential of our technology and its significance as a milestone in the Asia Pacific cleantech industry.

PDF of notification from Frost & Sullivan to SRI

Tire Recycling Breakthrough, The Edge

SRI’s CEO, Gopi Sekhar was recently interviewed by Karamjit Singh of The Edge, a financial and investment weekly publication here in Malaysia. The following is an excerpt.

One of the biggest environmental problems plaguing the world is the estimated one billion tyres lying in dumps around the world. The tyres cannot be easily disposed of or recycled and lie in massive dumps — some up to six football fields deep — leaking chemicals into the ground. Some catch fire spectacularly. These fires do not burn out easily. YouTube has videos showing tyre dumps on fire, spewing out thick black smoke and flames. The fires will last for days, the smoke for years. One tyre dumpsite was simmering deep in its bowels, releasing smoke for five incredible years.

“It is a common occurrence,” says Gopi Sekhar, CEO of SRI, who nonetheless believes he has found the solution to the rising mountains of discarded tyres around the world. He and his research team have created a compound which goes into making retread tires. More importantly, a light tyre for trucks, which was made with more than 14% recycled rubber, has been independently validated and tested by the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) of the Malaysian Rubber Board. The RRI noted that the performance of the tyre made by SRI was even better than that of a tyre made of virgin rubber.

An ecstatic Gopi welcomes the RRI validation. “What we have here is nothing less than the solution to the global tyre and rubber scrap problem. It will address not only the annual accumulation [of tyres] but also the backlog in the landfills. The introduction of SRI Compound Masterbatch as an industrial raw material effectively means cost-effective value-added consumption, which will make it irresistible as a green raw material. We believe that this is the future of global rubber recycling,” he says.

The rest of the article can be read at The Edge

SRI Releases Independent Test Results from the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia

Summary of the Rubber Research Institute independent test results.

Tire_test_results_Oct_09_chart1[/caption]

This chart involves a full battery of tests where control sample production tire and SRI Compound production tire were independently subjected to the full ASTM standard tests (Standard Test reference is on the chart) for Light Truck tires. All the information on the chart is important. The SRI Compound Tire is a composite compound using the manufacturers Light Truck compound with a substitution of 20% with our SRI Compound.

In this case it means that tread compound has 14% of recycled content and the sidewall of the tire has a little more than 14% recycled content. Virgin compound modified to allow for customization added to the activated compound will make the final custom compound proportion 20%. Here the tensile, elongation at break and Abrasion resistance (the lower the value the better) of the all the samples are tested following the protocols of the prescribed standard by the Rubber Research Institute’s (http://www.lgm.gov.my/) Tire Lab of the Malaysian Rubber Board.

On review of the results it will show that in spite of the inclusion or substitution of 20% (in this case 14% recycled material content) without custom compound that we were able to ensure no loss in properties, in fact we were able to prove that we could even exceed the original specifications in certain cases. Also the fact that we have done it in the sidewall and tread compounds makes it all the more impressive.

2. Comparative Chart 02[/caption]

This (above) chart is a comparison of the manufacturers Light Truck Tire Compound and a composite compound which is the same compound with 20% substituted with the  SRI Custom Compound (14% recycled rubber content). These compounds, the control and the composite were then tested for tensile and elongation at break to show that there is no appreciable loss or change in properties.

In the case of Batches 6 & 7 we increased the recycled content a little but please note that the variance is considered near test error difference. Regardless we feel that all the results are impressive and make our point without exception.

3. Plunger Energy Test[/caption]

The plunger test effectively measures the amount of force required to make the tire that has been normally inflated to fail or burst when it is applied to a specified area of the side wall using a regulation test plunger. The minimum specification to pass the test is that the point of failure or bursting must be achieved due to force in excess of 6,759kg.cm or 5,700 in.lb.

The control or manufacturers original OEM compound tire was measured to require a force of 7,029kg.cm to make the plunger break through.

The  SRI custom compound tires not only passed the minimum specification but it managed to comfortably exceed the control at 7,798kg.cm and 8,800 kg.cm.

This test is of specific significance as the  SRI activated compound was not only incorporated into the tread compound but it was also introduced into the sidewall compound. This test is not only measuring the overall resistance of the tire to measured trauma but it is a test that points clearly to the performance level of the side wall compound. The  SRI compound in the current format was intended to be equal to the control specification; this was achieved and exceeded which leaves additional room for further cost reduction based on the sidewall formulation.

All these test results were the result of independent testing and evaluation by the Rubber Research Institute of the Malaysian Rubber Board.

Based on these test results, what has been achieved here is historic, there has never been a case of scrap rubber/tire dust or powder, regardless of the technology employed that has ever exceeded a couple of percentile. Before this innovation exceeding 2 plus % recycled content in a tire compound always meant what is referred to in the industry as “catastrophic failure”. History has been rewritten, the  SRI custom compound has been able to incorporate more than 14% recycled content in both the tread and sidewall compounds of a light truck tire and actually had it provide performance parameters equal to and higher than the original compound. Obviously the content levels would be substantially higher in lower to medium level applications.  SRI is currently unmatched having broken new technological ground in recycling whose impact and significance will be effect the entire rubber industry.

SRI’s revolutionary compound’s, technical reach and ability to perform in premium volume applications will not only ensure substantially improved viability for rubber product manufacturers but will make environmentally friendly “green” production the norm rather than the exception. Finally there is a real solution to the “Tire Mountains” and the environmental pollution from them.  SRI activated custom compounds allow for substantial recycled content to be applied in nearly all volume applications cost effectively without appreciable loss of properties.

SRI Compound – Overview and Simplified Preliminary Demonstration

Overview and Simplified Preliminary Demonstration

Our starting point is the standard production output from a 40 mesh crumb rubber producer. While the “Surface Activation Process” is effective with material ranging from 40 mesh and better all the way to Cryogenic crumb in the 120 to 200 mesh range, we will be carrying out our process trials with standard generic 40 mesh “whole truck” dust. Once activated the highly reactive material is subjected to either a modified reclaim process or any one of the devulcanization technologies currently available. Proprietary processing aids would then be added to the mix and the resultant reactivated compound is then blended with a modified version of the virgin compound used by manufacturers. What you have at this point is a custom compound that has been tailored to whichever product category intended (in this case heavy truck retread compound). This material which is now a thoroughbred raw material, can be added into their process line with no material modification, added process activity or any additional cost factors in the manufacturers operation and most importantly without any appreciable loss in properties. This has never been viably and cost effectively done before, there have been material approximations, mostly in the form of fillers or processing aids masquerading as raw materials, none of which are remotely comparable. This in itself is a significant factor, effectively the SRI Compound would be dropped into the final minute of their normal production mixing cycle in their Banburys or intermixs. The manufacturer would be able to substitute virgin compound with our recycled compound ranging in proportions from 5% to up to 30% subject to the application and the properties required without any appreciable loss in properties allowing them to be environmentally responsible while enhancing their viability. The SRI Compound once fully developed will be a world beating recycling solution, setting a totally new standard for performance and viability.




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